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essay was inspired by an improvised video recorded with the help of my friend Jonathon Edwards, October 5th, 2013 at Lurch Mountain, just outside northeast Portland, Oregon. * * * * * * *

A Hallway to the Court of the Crimson King

Sun and Moon 13 Degrees conjunct in Libra

During our hike through Oregon's Lurch Mountain this afternoon, Jonathon and I were surrounded by the deep green emanations of the forest. On this particular day, the Sun and Moon were positioned in

Libra. In the spirit of the day, we recorded a video (located here) that gives a basic overview of the Tone

Color Alchemy system and how you can understand the relationship between music and tarot. This blog post expounds further on today's astrological significance and how it relates to a foundational theoretical element in the Musical Tarot: Major and Minor as musical codewords for Solar and Lunar. In the image above, you can see in the top left corner, an image of today's astro chart (10/6/13). The musical notes B (Moon) and D (Sun) are said to be positioned in F# (Libra). This musical grouping forms a B minor triad: BDF#. Minor triads are esoterically affiliated with Lunar energy, while Major triads are affiliated with Solar energy. Therefore, today's Sun/Moon position in Libra and its subsequent formation of a B minor triad (BD-F#) could be understood as having collectively "lunar" energy signature, even though it is composed of both the sun and moon. I think of sun and moon resting in the balance of Libra's twin scales. During the aforementioned video, I point out that the minor triad BDF# can be interpreted as the relative minor to the relative major triad of DF#A. Both scales are composed of the same notes - BC#DEF#GA as shown in the bottom left portion of this image, where the occupants of seven watchtowers each assigned one of the seven notes of a musical scale. You can see the sun on the left and moon on the right, separated by a pole that goes up the central channel. This pictoral division of solar/lunar energies in relation to the seven watchtowers is a perfect visual metaphor for the way that seven musical notes can be divided up to produce either a Major/Solar scale or a Minor/Lunar scale. It all depends on which note you begin with.

The squaring of our Sun-Moon-Libra triad with Pluto in Capricorn bears honorable mention, if only for its musical symbolism. Capricorn's musical note is A. The introduction of the musical note A to our Sun+Moon+Libra configuration produces BDF#A, a quaternity composed of an overlapping B minor triad and the D major

triad. These are the same four cards that I drew in today's instructional video. B D F# A expresses the harmonic fusion between the Archetypal Lunar Triad (B corresponds to the Moon Card and minor triads are Lunar) and the Archetypal Solar Triad (D corresponds to the Sun Card and major triads are Solar). Fusing the Archetypal Lunar Triad (BDF#) and the Archetypal Solar Triad (DF#A) generates a B Minor 7 chord (BDF#A). This chord symbolizes the Alchemical Child, represented in the tarot card associated with Pluto, Judgment. Here the mother and father (moon and sun) are on either side of the child as pillars of his ascent to the archangel Gabriel, who blows a musical instrument from which seven musical tones emerge. Holy baptism by sound! You can follow this link to watch the improvised TCA video on Lurch Mountain: * * * * * * *

In the Hall of the Mountain King

I feel like Im following an intuitive flow of synchronicity here. Though I make no absolute claims that B minor 'is' the archetypal lunar key and D major 'is' the archetypal solar key, in this system or any other, they are certainly appearing to my consciousness in that way, at this time. Given that Jonathon and I stumbled upon the four-note Alchemical Child (BDF#A or B Minor 7) while hiking through a mountain, it's fitting that we explore this famous classical orchestral work by Norwegian composer Edvard Grieg, entitled "In The Hall of Mountain King". A few things get my attention about this piece. First of all, it's a theme that most people have heard whether they are familiar with classical repetoire or not. Secondly, it's musically composed of the Bminor/Dmajor relationship. Third, it tells the story of the son of a mother and father and his adventures through what CG Jung and Marie Louis von Franz would certainly have viewed as a symbolic portrayal of the Collective Unconscious. This musical theme emerges during act two of the story. Here is some narrative context:

ACT 1: "Peer Gynt is the son of the once highly regarded Jon Gynt. Jon Gynt spent all
his money on feasting and living lavishly, and had to go from his farm as a wandering salesman, leaving his wife and son behind in debt. se, the mother, wished to raise her son to restore the lost fortune of his father, but Peer is soon to be considered useless. He is a poet and a braggart." My Translation: The main character is a boy. He and his mother have been abandoned by the father. The boy cannot replace the father and provide for the family because he is a poet, consumed by the imagination. "His mother scorns him for his vivid imagination, and taunts him because he spoiled his chances with Ingrid, the daughter of the richest farmer. Peer leaves for Ingrid's wedding, scheduled for the following day, because he may still get a chance with the bride. His mother follows quickly to stop him from shaming himself completely. At the wedding, the other guests taunt and laugh at Peer." My Translation: The poet boy now seeks a bride, but is alienated by his village. "In the same wedding, Peer meets a family of Haugean newcomers from another valley. He instantly notices the elder daughter, Solveig, and asks her to dance. She refuses because her father would disapprove, and because Peer's reputation has preceded him. She leaves, and Peer starts drinking. When he hears the bride has locked herself in, he seizes the opportunity, runs away with her, and spends the night with her in the mountains." My Translation: An opportunity to find a bride comes through someone who is not from his village, but this is spoiled by his poor reputation. He must leave his home

town and escape into a hidden place, the world of the unconscious (the mountain), to claim his right to sleep with the foreign woman.

Act 2: "Peer is banished for kidnapping Ingrid. As he wanders the mountains, his
mother, se, and Solveig's father search for him. Peer meets three amorous dairymaids who are waiting to be courted by trolls (a folklore motif from Gudbrandsdalen). He becomes highly intoxicated with them and spends the next day alone suffering from a hangover. He runs head-first into a rock and swoons, and the rest of the second act probably takes place in Peer's dreams. " My Translation: The poet's escape into the unconscious has led to his banishment from the home town. Left to his own devices, he gets drunk with a triage of beautiful women, clumsily knocks his head against a rock and then falls into a dreamspace. This dream space is where the Bminor/Dmajor melodic motif emerges during the play. "He comes across a woman clad in green, who claims to be the daughter of the troll mountain king. Together they ride into the mountain hall, and the troll king gives Peer the opportunity to become a troll if Peer would marry his daughter. Peer agrees to a number of conditions, but declines in the end. He is then confronted with the fact that the green-clad woman is with child. Peer denies this; he claims not to have touched her, but the wise troll king replies that he begat the child in his head. Crucial for the plot and understanding of the play is the question asked by the troll king: What is the difference between troll and man?"" My Translation: The dream sequence depicts the poet encountering a troll princess and considering to marry her. He later decides against it, but discovers that his very consideration of marrying her has caused her to become pregnant. Critical to this phase of the story is that the troll princess is both PREGNANT and wearing a GREEN robe. GREEN robe. GREEN robe.

As established earlier, this is a non prescriptive interpretation. I am not suggesting that Grieg was in any way using the tone color alchemy system to encode secret messages into his orchestral works. However, the pregnant princess wearing green offers an interesting synchronicity in the weaving of our narrative, given that the tone color of the empress card is green, and this empress is always depicted as pregnant, this being the quality that separates her from the chaste virginal character of the High Priestess. "The answer given by the Old Man of the Mountain is: "Out there, where sky shines, humans say: 'To thyself be true.' In here, trolls say: 'Be true to yourself and to hell with the world.'" Egoism is a typical trait of the trolls in this play. From then on, Peer uses this as his motto, always proclaiming that he is himself, whatever that is. He then meets one of the most interesting characters, the Byg a creature who has no real description. Asked the question "Who are you?" The Byg answers, "Myself"." My Translation: This encounter with the mountain troll royalty serve as an initiatory rite for Peer. Our poet-boy is approaching manhood, having created a child of his own, albeit an imaginary one, born from merging with a troll. He has discovered the shadowy side of his individuation process, egotism and self interest. Summary: The alienated poet child journeys toward his individuation from family and village, impregnating the Troll princess, becoming himself a kind of Troll

Emperor at the level of his inner psychology. With regards to Tone Color Alchemy, we have found a beautiful music-myth symbol of the Unio Mystica between Sol and Luna, or Peer and the Troll Princess, corresponding to the B minor and D major chords. The Mountain Troll King fits in archetypally with the Devil card, musical note A, as he is the one who points out to Peer that a child has been born. The philosophical child connected to this story, and the musical motif that goes along with it, is literally consummated and birthed in the dreaming psyche. Click here to hear a 2 minute clip of the melody from orchestral performance. Hall of the Mountain King: * * * * * * *

In the Court of the Crimson King

is literally consummated and birthed in the dreaming psyche.

Act 3: "As an outlaw, Peer struggles to build his own cottage in the hills. Solveig
turns up and insists on living with him. She has made her choice, she says, and there will be no return for her. Peer is delighted and welcomes her, but as she enters the cabin, an elderly-appearing woman in green garments appears with a limping boy at her side. This is the green-clad woman from the mountain hall, and her half-human brat is the child begotten by Peer from his mind during his stay there. She has cursed Peer by forcing him to remember her and all his previous sins, when facing Solveig. Peer hears a ghostly voice saying, "Go roundabout, Peer", and decides to leave. He tells Solveig he has something heavy to fetch. He returns in time for his mother's death, and then sets off overseas." My Translation: The poet boy is offered an opportunity to marry a woman he once cared for, but he cannot forget his experience in the Hall of the Mountain King. He leaves Solveig and in the next scene his mother dies. Thus begins the fool's journey, fatherless, motherless, and without wife.

Before continuing with Peer's story, I want to tie things back into the current Astrological forecast. Uranus is located in Aries, which in tarot translates as "The Fool" and "The Emperor" respectively. We can see how Peer's unconscious bondage (curse) in relation to the Troll Princess has rendered him an accidental Emperor. For this reason, he could not marry Solveig, and has embarked on the Fool's journey overseas. In the image above I provide today's astro chart. You can see that Venus has shifted in our sky and is currently at the zero degree cusp of Scorpio and Sagittarius. These two cards correspond to the "Death" and "Temperance" cards respectively. In our story, we see the death of the empress showing up as first Peer's disowning of Solveig, followed by the actual death of his mother. Yet this death is really a transition into Saggitarius, the zodiacal sign of direction, travel, and extended journeys. As above, so below. * * * * * * * * * * * *

I have chosen this content of study because it closely mirrors my own personal process at this time. As I write about Peer, I am also writing about myself, albeit in coded language. The synchronicity that appears in the astro-musical study of this Mountain King narrative conceals the self-examination taking place in my own psyche in real time. e.z.b.r.a

Act 4: "Peer is away for many years, taking part in various occupations and playing
various roles including that of a businessman engaged in enterprises on the coast of Morocco. Here, he explains his view of life, and we learn that he is a businessman taking part in unethical transactions, including sending heathen images to China and trading slaves. In his defence, he points out that he has also sent missionaries to China, and he treated his slaves well. His companions rob him, after he decides to support the Turkish in suppressing a Greek revolt, and leave him alone on the shore. Then he finds some stolen bedouin gear, and, in these clothes, he is hailed as a prophet by a local tribe. He tries to seduce Anitra, the chieftain's daughter, but she steals his money and rings, gets away, and leaves him. Then he decides to become a historian and travels to Egypt. He wanders through the desert, passing the Colossi of Memnon and the Sphinx. As he addresses the Sphinx, believing her to be the Byg, he encounters the keeper of the local madhouse, himself insane, who regards Peer as the bringer of supreme wisdom. Peer comes to the madhouse and understands that all of the patients live in their own worlds, being themselves to such a degree that no one cares for anyone else. In his youth, Peer had dreamt of becoming an emperor. In this place, he is finally hailed as one the emperor of the "self". Peer despairs and calls for the "Keeper of all fools", i.e., God." My Translation: Without getting too focused on the details, we see that Peer is no longer seeking the feminine. He has ventured out to Egypt to encounter the Sphinx, a mythic character that previously appeared to him in the Troll dream. Archetypally, the Sphinx is a symbol of the Self, an oracle who speaks in riddles. In meeting the sphinx, he is forced to confront his own madness and self-interest. The archetype of the emperor and the fool are both invoked in the story. They are in fact one in the same. An emperor of the Self is but a Fool in the eyes of God.

Act 5 (Final Act): "Finally, on his way home as an old man, he is shipwrecked.
Among those on board, he meets the Strange Passenger, who wants to make use of Peer's corpse to find out where dreams have their origin. This passenger scares Peer out of his wits. Peer lands on shore bereft of all of his possessions, a pitiful and grumpy old man. Back home in Norway, Peer Gynt attends a peasant funeral and an auction, where he offers for sale of everything from his earlier life. The auction takes place at the very farm where the wedding once was held. Peer stumbles along and is confronted with all that he did not do, his unsung songs, his unmade works, his unwept tears, and his questions that were never asked. His mother comes back and claims that her deathbed went awry; he did not lead her to heaven with his ramblings. Peer escapes and is confronted with the Button-molder, who maintains that Peer's soul must be melted down with other faulty goods unless he can explain when and where in life he has been "himself". Peer protests. He has been only that, and nothing else.

Then he meets the goblin king, who states that he has been a goblin, not a man, most of his life. The molder comes along and says that he has to come up with something if he is not to be melted down." "Peer looks for a priest to whom to confess his sins, and a character named the Lean One (who is the Devil), turns up. The Lean One believes Peer cannot be counted a real sinner who can be sent to Hell; he has not done anything serious. Peer despairs in the end, understanding that his life is forfeit; he is nothing. But at the same moment, Solveig starts to sing the cabin Peer built is close at hand, but he dares not enter. The Byg in Peer tells him "around". The molder shows up and demands a list of sins, but Peer has none to give, unless Solveig can vouch for him. Then Peer breaks through to Solveig, asking her for his sins. But she answers: "You have not sinned at all, my dearest boy." Peer does not understand he believes himself lost. Then he asks her: "Where has Peer Gynt been since we last met? Where was I as the one I should have been, whole and true, with the mark of God on my brow?" She answers; "In my faith. In my Hope. In my love" Peer screams, calls his mother, and hides himself in her lap. Solveig sings her lullaby for him, and we might presume he dies in this last scene of the play, although there are neither stage directions nor dialogue to indicate that he actually does. Behind the corner, the button-molder, who is sent by God, still waits, with the words: "Peer, we shall meet at the last crossroads, and then we shall see if... I'll say no more." My Translation: Peer is forced to see all of the ways in which he has avoided life through his actions. The only way in which his wholeness and godliness showed up in the world was through Solveig's image of him, in her faith, hope and love for him. Realizing the profundity of his failure, he returns to the ghost of his mother and hides in her lap, like a child. The play ends with words that suggest a day of judgment, a crossroads where the fate of his soul will be determined. Like sun and moon in libra, his Light and Shadow will be weighed and the Justice of his life will be determined in the Eternal Court. Wiki source:

The Hall of the Mountain King ends in tragedy. If we trace his failures back to their root, we can see that it was the father's abandonment of mother and child put pressure on Peer and rapidly accelerated his individuation process. Being unprepared for the journey, he stumbled and found himself exiled by his village, outcast to the mountains, where he encounters the Troll King (The Devil/Judgment/Pluto in Capricorn). Despite later opportunities to claim a wife, his anima - the internal feminine - is scarred and chases him away from opportunities for intimacy. Peers seeming failure to grow into manhood through conventional social means has led to the cursed outcome of his life. In the end, he looks upon his life as a failure. What he needed was a strong father figure, the solar energy required to grow into his full potential as a man. Just to be nonlinear, let's take a look at another piece of music that fits snug with this current weave. It's the title track from King Crimson's debut Album, Court of the Crimson King. The song title itself closely resembles the name of our myth, the Hall of the Mountain King, yet something has changed. The hallway has become a court, and the mountain element (earth) has become crimson red (fire).

This song is full of overlapping archetypal resonance with the BOTA/OTO/TCA tone color system. Was this a deliberate reference to occult knowledge of the western magical tradition, or merely poetry? What is the relevance of this tune to our study of Hall of the Mountain King?

King Crimsons Court of the Crimson King

Title track of King Crimsons debut album, released 10/10/1969 "The rusted chains of prison moons Are shattered by the sun. I walk a road, horizons change The tournament's begun. The purple piper plays his tune, The choir softly sing; Three lullabies in an ancient tongue, For the court of the crimson king." The purple piper, who I attribute to the archetypal image of the pipe wielding goat god Pan, is no longer playing the role of Mountain King in this song lyric. Instead he is accompanied by a soft singing choir, reminiscent of Peer's final scene with Solveig as she sings him gently toward the end of the play. In the tarot image of the Devil, the lovers are chained together on the devil's perch, a perfect symbol of Peer's accursed marriage to the troll princess. Here the lyrics described 'rusted chains of prison moons shattered by the sun". If these chains of bondage relate to the negative manifestation of the Lover archetype, as depicted in the devil card, then the coming of the sun seems to mark liberation from the false rule of the devil. Hence his subjugated form as a mere piper in the court of the Crimson King. Viewed from the dreaming perspective, all of these archetypes are but reflections of the dreamer's mind, and so we can conclude that Peer is now entering his Father's House, the court of the crimson king, the encounter and relate to his authentic masculinity. Yet the final verse of this song is unnerving and provides no clear sense of resolution: "On soft gray mornings widows cry The wise men share a joke; I run to grasp divining signs To satisfy the hoax. The yellow jester does not play But gentle pulls the strings And smiles as the puppets dance In the court of the crimson king. I was struck at how these lyrics seemed to taunt me for "peering" into the hidden meaning of the song. "I run to grasp divining signs to satisfy the hoax" taunt me. I am but a guest in the court of the emperor.

Especially in the moment, as I sit here writing, I feel somewhat identified with the Magician and the Fool, guiding myself and the reader through Peer's musical journey. I look forward to ongoing pathworking with the Emperor and Empress, I think theres more to be said about the King especially. For a taste of the King energy, enjoy this vibrational medicine and dispell the curse of the Trolls, break the 'rusted chains of prison moons' through this invocation of the Sun with the Beatles tune "Here Comes the Sun", written in the key of D Major, the so-called Archetypal Solar Key. 'By this merit may all beings obtain omniscience. May it defeat the enemy of wrongdoing. From the turbulent waves of old age, sickness, death, the ocean of samsara, may all being be set free.' - Tibetan Buddhist prayer

Listen to Here Comes the Sun (D Major) here: Special thanks to Jonathon Edwards, Sun Jae Lee, and Moira Campbell 10.8.13